Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), today chaired the first meeting with the fishermen’s associations in 2023. During the meeting, her excellency presented MOCCAE’s vision for supporting fishermen to develop fisheries wealth, as a key enabler of food security in the UAE, while also tackling possible solutions to the challenges faced by fishermen.
Held at the headquarters of the Fujairah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the meeting saw attendance of His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi, Undersecretary of the Biodiversity and Aquatic Life Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, and several representatives of fishermen’s associations from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Kalba, Fujairah, Bidiyah, as well as the Northern Emirates Fishermen Cooperative Association.
In her opening remarks, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri highlighted the “prominent role of fishermen in promoting the UAE’s historical fishing craft, which is a key pillar of the country’s national food security. With their efforts and full cooperation with MOCCAE, the fishermen contribute significantly to fisheries development and sustainability, now and in the future. We have made a lot of efforts recently to support fishermen at all levels and are pleased to share that with the fishermen’s associations today.”
Her Excellency also stressed that “fishing that takes into account all environmental dimensions_ is an important pillar to enhance the UAE’s efforts to achieve sustainability and fulfill its climate and environmental obligations to the world. This is especially important in light of the UAE’s declaration of 2023 as the year of sustainability and its hosting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28)”. Her Excellency stated that “the Ministry is keen to improve fishing in all emirates of the country and will translate this into reality through more efforts during the coming period”.
During the meeting, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri recognized the fisherman Abdullah bin Rabee, who helped release a whale shark stranded on a beach in Khor Fakkan last February. Bin Rabee was able, with his extensive experience, and with the help of a group of fishermen, to return the fish to deep waters, which had a tangible environmental impact and reflects the extent of awareness of the issue of the environment and the preservation of endangered aquatic life.
Commenting on the subject, his excellency Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi said: “The Ministry spares no effort in supporting fishermen’s associations in the various emirates of the country, as they represent the all the fishermen in the country, and we work in cooperation with these associations in order to find solutions to the various challenges that fishermen may face through many initiatives. The procedures and decisions that contribute to facilitating fishing activities, and in line with the state’s directions towards enhancing food security and preserving the environment. This supports its sustainability as an authentic food resource on the table of everyone who lives in the UAE.”
Dr. Mohammed Salman Al Hammadi added that: “the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment exerted many efforts during the past period towards strengthening the role of fishermen, identifying their problems, and working to solve them within the framework of partnership with all concerned authorities in all emirates of the country”. His Excellency shed light on the Ministry’s field visit to the Northern Regions Association, in addition to the most prominent achievements made last year. These achievements included setting up a system for renewing fishing boat licenses that have expired for long periods of time, launching maintenance and protection of fishing ports, in addition to changing the support provided to marine engines, increasing and diversifying the power of engines”.
Al Hammadi also referred to the issues being worked on by the Ministry, which center around reconsidering the decision on violations, and coordinating with the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority to rescue fishermen at sea when necessary and regarding equipment malfunctions. His Excellency also touched on the topics that will be studied regarding the impact of water desalination inside the sea on the marine environment and living aquatic resources, regulating the import of fish in the breeding seasons with a decision to stop the import of fish that are abundant during the season, amending the specifications of the traditional fishing nets, and regulating net operation and submission season.
The meeting also discussed the Ministry’s commitment to hold periodic meetings with fishermen’s associations in the various emirates of the country. The meetings will be held to discuss the needs of fishermen, their conditions, issues and their most important demands regarding the fishing profession, which would advance the profession, enhance the role of fishermen in society, and preserve this historical profession.